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R2P in Libya

April 15, 2011

Are We Right to be in Libya?

On the op-ed page of yesterday’s Boston Globe, Alan J. Kuperman questions the rationale for U.S./NATO involvement in the Libyan conflict. Kuperman is a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and author or co-editor of two recent books critiquing the application of the so-called “Responsibility to Protect,” or R2P. (See our last post, as well as our more extensive discussion in September, 2010.)
            Kuperman’s lead states that “Evidence is now in that President Barack Obama grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya.” He cites data from Human Rights Watch on the contested city of Misurata which he believes suggests that “Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government.” My reading of posts on the HRW site, however, suggests that the organization continues to support the application of R2P inLibya.
            This is a short, well-argued piece; I’d welcome feedback from readers on it. Kuperman’s books are The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention, and (as co-editor with Timothy Crawford) Gambling on Humanitarian Intervention. (As always, if ordering books discussed in this blog from Amazon, please consider doing so through our website, which will help to support the work of The Refuge Media Project. Click on the titles above to be redirected to our site.)

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